Gul Madred

Story: Chain of Command, Part II
Written By: Frank Abatemarco
Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Year: 1992

For an episode made entirely for cutting money in the budget…it is one of the best of the whole series. The first part is great, and yet this is somehow leaps and bounds better than it was. Most of the drama takes place in one room. Picard is just tied up in a room, being forced to live in the nude, eat little, and be referred to only as “human”.
On the Entperprise story, Riker and Jellico eventually come to blows and Riker is relieved of duty. Data switches to the red command divisions uniform as he is made first officer. Troi is forced to wear an actual uniform instead of the catsuit. To some fans, this is a travesty. For me I prefer her not in the catsuit. She actually rarely switches to the catsuit after this.

The Picard storyline’s most interesting element involves one simple little thing: lights. The captor wants Picard to admit that there are five lights. There are actually four. It is somehow dramatic as hell. And has one of the best payoffs ever in Trek.

This episode is also noteworthy for being the last episode to air before the premiere of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. I think the writers and producers were kind of smart to end on a big Cardassian episode before starting a series that would have a lot of Cardassian dealings.

All in all this might be the best story of this season.

NEXT TIME: Leaving the Holodeck